Welsh tidal lagoon project – revolution in UK energy

9th October 2016 | Commercial Energy

Backers of an ambitious proposal to transform the UK’s power supply will learn in the next few weeks if they are to be given the go-ahead to build tidal lagoons to generate electricity. The green light could see a series of major lagoon projects costing more than £15bn being constructed around the coast of Britain.
A tidal lagoon generates electricity from the natural rise and fall of the tides: rising water flows into dams many miles in length to drive turbines. It is then held back behind walls as the tide recedes before being released to drive the turbines again, which will generate thousands of megawatts of power.
If it is given the go-ahead by a government of tidal lagoon technology, chaired by the former energy minister Charles Hendry, a prototype is set for construction in the next few years in Swansea Bay. The review is scheduled to release its recommendation early next month.
It is believed that Hendry will give approval, although it remains to be seen if tidal lagoon technology is backed by Theresa May’s administration: it was strongly back by George Osborne in the last Conservative manifesto.
Chief Executive of Tidal Power Lagoon, the backer of the Swansea Bay prototype lagoon, Mark Shorrock said the technology could be an important zero-carbon source of electricity generation for the UK. “In addition, the money to build tidal lagoons will come from British investor and the expertise and technology we develop could be sold around the world,” he said.
Tidal lagoons could also provide much of the power needed to make up for the predicted shortfall in UK energy which will be caused by the phasing out of cola plans and ageing nuclear reactors over the next decade, he added.
Six major projects have been earmarked for construction: a prototype at Swansea Bay, and then full-size lagoons Cardiff, Newport, Colwyn Bay, Bridgwater Bay and West Cumbria.
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